London: Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel held talks with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine on Monday (Tuesday AEDT), as it emerged the EU could buy emergency gas supplies from Russia in an effort to drive down energy prices.
Vladimir Chishov, the Kremlin’s ambassador to the EU, earlier suggested Europe could have more gas if it stopped treating Russia as “an adversary”.
Lord Agnew of Oulton, the Treasury minister, told Parliament that spiralling energy costs were nothing to do with supply shortages, but were due to a “geopolitical move” by Russia to put pressure on Europe to clear the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Record-breaking gas prices hit a new high last week, before falling after Putin suggested the Russian state-owned company Gazprom could increase supplies.
His deputy prime minister earlier said that supplies could be expedited if German regulators approved Nord Stream.
Critics say that the pipeline exacerbates European dependence on Russian gas and robs Ukraine of transit fees.
France, Spain, Romania, Greece and the Czech Republic have called for EU joint procurement of emergency gas supplies from Russia but those plans are at a very early stage.
The French president and German chancellor ordered their foreign ministers to work with their Russian counterparts to set up a meeting to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine.